27% drop in recall efforts in 2019

This year, fewer state and local recall efforts were started or reached the ballot compared to 2018. Ballotpedia covered 151 recall efforts against 230 officials in 2019. In comparison, 206 recall efforts targeted 299 officials in 2018. Since Ballotpedia released its first annual recall report in 2012, a minimum of 151 efforts (2019) and a maximum of 282 efforts (2016) have been covered each year.

In addition to having fewer recalls overall, 2019 also saw a lower success rate for recalls that made the ballot. Of the 66 officials whose recalls reached the ballot, 34 (52%) were recalled and 32 remained in office. Recall efforts in 2017 and 2018 both had a higher success rate, 56% and 63% respectively.

In other ways, however, 2019 was similar to previous years. As in 2016, 2017, and 2018, city council officials drew more recall petitions than any other group. A total of 90 city council members were targeted in 2019. Mayors and vice-mayors faced the second-most recall efforts with 45. In comparison, 93 city council officials and 39 mayors and vice-mayors were targeted in 2018.

California led the way with the highest number of officials targeted for recall with 37. The state previously had the most recall efforts in 2015 (80), 2016 (79), and 2017 (61). Colorado (28) and Idaho (23) were second and third in total recall efforts in 2019.

Of the recall efforts covered in 2019, 20% were still underway as of December 17 and another 6% had recall elections scheduled. A total of 40% of the efforts did not make it to the ballot.

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Additional reading:
Recall overview
Political recall efforts, 2019




About the author

Jaclyn Beran

Jackie Beran is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at jaclyn.beran@ballotpedia.org

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